Trading Nightmares For Dreams

Dare To Be Happy

Mar 4, 2011 by

I’m sitting on the couch on Friday morning.  A train whistles, telling tales of its journeys to places I’ve never been.  Mornings like this, Colorado reminds me of W. Virginia. Snow-clouds hang heavy over the city, obscuring the ever-present mountains.

I must simply have faith that they are still there, still standing over us, watching and waiting forever.  I cannot see them now, but then that’s the nature of faith, isn’t it?

I love this place.  I love that I can see the constellation of city lights from my kitchen windows.  I love how the steam from the nearby power plant clings together and stays close to home when the temperature dips below zero.  Sometimes that steam even turns to snow and falls right back down on us, as if to say, “Good or bad, I’m not leaving.”

I love the horses, munching quietly, out of place on the corner lot and the checkerboard of artsy-shabby, little homes.  I love opening my eyes in the morning, after the inevitable nightmares of widowhood, to find myself safe in my own house; safe in the life I’ve made for myself.

Dorothea Bozicolona-Volpe has written beautifully here about the death of her fiance.  My experience was similar, but different.  Dave and I were married for 12 years and it was a typical marriage; full of love and struggle, commitment and uncertainty.  He died in 2008 at age 45 of leukemia that came out of nowhere.  When he died, I was 39 and I felt as if my life had folded in half like a piece of paper.  I could see the past, but a future hardly seemed possible.  For a long time I was just still and stunned inside, as if biding my time until my own death.

Someday, I will tell the story about losing him, but not today.  Today I am too full of wonder at what I have become and am becoming.  When I wrote this (3/3) it was  my 42nd birthday and the first day of the rest of my life.  Of course, you can say that any day, but yesterday was my last day with the large corporation that employed me, keeping me safe, anchored and somewhat bored, for the last 10 years.  That’s nearly a quarter of my life!

What am I going to do now?  Why, anything I want!  My plan and dream is to start a business doing what makes me happy, which is to say doing something with food, farms and of course, my beloved chickens.  It feels odd to be so completely free and sometimes I wonder when I became this brazen woman.  “Who quits a good job during an economic downturn??,” asks my Internal Accountant.  I remind her it’s not so long ago that I didn’t even remember I had dreams.  I remind her that Life didn’t quite keep its end of the bargain.  We did what we were supposed to and Dave died anyway.

Trading my dreams for what looks like safety is a deal with the Devil.

Why am I doing this?  Because I can.  Because there seemed to be no scenario in which I did not do this.  Because I have faith that there will be a future, even if I can’t see the details right now.  Because I can see the other side of that folded up paper now and I want to pick up my pen and begin writing the rest of my story.

About the Author

Bonnie Simon Has Written 35 Articles For Us!

I am an urban homesteader in Colorado Springs, CO where I raise chickens, make my own yogurt and am learning to grow some food, all within sight of downtown in a 1950s era neighborhood. I am starting a small business designed to fill the gap between local farms and local dinner tables.
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  1. Dorothea


    This was a very impactful read. You are so daring!

    Thank you for sharing this!

  2. Bonnie – I love your line, “Trading my dreams for what looks like safety is a deal with the Devil.” Thanks for the reminder that although Life doesn’t always, if at all play fair, it’s a poor excuse for giving up on your dreams. And just as important to remember that it’s okay to change those dream.

  3. Rebecca Crichton

    How brave and honest you are. I used to facilitate grief support groups and in 1987 I ran a small group for young widows and widowers, all under 40. We met at my home, around my dining room table and I fed them tea and sweets and they talked about their lives and the shock of finding themselves alone as a result of death as opposed to all the other reasons most people have. Just last week, I had a mini-reunion with two of them. We ate fabulous food, drank good wine and talked about that time and how it had changed them. There is something about such profound loss at an early age that can be the jolt that propels you forward, despite not knowing what that might look like. I used to remind people in my groups that they would never have imagined what happened that brought them to that place and reassure them that they couldn’t imagine what the future would hold but that they would definitely get through it and learn from it. Thanks for sharing with us. We are all richer for it. Rebecca

  4. Charlotte

    Bonnie, you continue to amaze me. Please never stop writing! This piece moved me to tears and the biggest urge to smile and hug you with all my might!

  5. I admire you, Bonnie for daring to live your Dream. I didn’t start living my own dream until after my divorce, at age 30. You’re right, it’s easy to stay in comfort and security and perhaps it takes a crisis that forces us to find who we truly are. (I quit my day job to become an artist!) I am really looking forward to the rest of your story. I live in an area in upstate NY where the local farmers started a collective called “farm to table” where they pool their products and ship them to fine restaurants in New York City, and invite the restaurant chefs to come tour their farms. It’s keeping them in business. I wish you much success in yours! – SerenaK

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